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Government Willing to Accept Pyongyang’s Mutual Inspection Request

Government Willing to Accept Pyongyang’s Mutual Inspection Request

Posted October. 01, 2005 07:43,   


It was reported that South Korea and the U.S. would accept a North Korean request for mutual inspections between the two Koreas, including U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) facilities, in the process of dismantling its nuclear program.

A South Korean government official said yesterday, “If the North that accepted the dismantling of its nuclear programs and inspections through the joint statement reached through the fourth round of the six-party talks insisted to investigate the U.S. and South Korea’s claim that there are no nuclear weapon in the South in the North’s process of scrapping its nuclear programs, we would accept the North’s request.”

The official continued to say, “Pyongyang brought up the issue at the just-concluded six-party talks mid-September,” adding, “Seoul and Washington replied that they would be willing to accept these terms because they are convinced that there are no nuclear weapon in Seoul.”

He added, “The subject of the inspection also includes the USFK’s facilities,” and, “On top of that, some nuclear power plants and related research institutes might also be on the inspection list.”

This mutual inspection would be the first inspection since the Korean War, meaning that Seoul, Pyongyang, and Washington would unveil their key military facilities to each other. It is unprecedented for the U.S. to allow a third country, in particular, a hostile country, to inspect its overseas military bases.

Meanwhile, asked whether the U.S. has been ready to allow inspectors to come to the South in order to investigate whether any nuclear programs exist at a briefing on September 29, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack did not rule out the possibility of the mutual inspection, saying, “The issue will be discussed during the next round of six-party talks.”

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com srkim@donga.com